DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — DNA evidence found on a discarded sneaker, security camera footage and eyewitness testimony will prove a Brooklyn man guilty in the 2013 brutal beating of a fashion student, leaving him blinded in one eye, prosecutors argued in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
The bench trial of Mayer Herskovic, the last of the men to face charges for beating Taj Patterson on Flushing Avenue on Dec. 1, 2013, began Monday morning.
In his opening statement, the Assistant District Attorney Tim Gough said the Shomrim Security Patrol, which polices the Hasidic neighborhood, had gotten unfounded calls that Patterson was vandalizing cars.
Soon Patterson was being chased by fifteen to twenty men who pinned him against a fence and started to attack him, Gough said. Patterson managed to wriggle free and he ran out into the street banging on the widow of a passing car.
"Please let me in, let me in," Paterson had pleaded the driver who continued driving, but called 911, prosecutors said. "It didn't seem safe and there were too many of them."
The men caught up to Patterson and continued to beat, kick and stomp him. In the attack, Herskovic grabbed Patterson's shoe and flung it up onto a nearby roof, prosecutors said. Investigators later found Herskovic's DNA on the shoe, Gough said.
A bus driver and another man who was also driving by at the time of the attack are also set to testify about the wall of men they saw surrounding the fallen Patterson. The two eyewitnesses started to film the encounter with their phones and the Hasidic men quickly dispersed, Gough said.
"Not a single person stood to render aid, to render assistance, to help Taj Patterson," he said.
Since the attack, Patterson has undergone three surgeries to treat facial fractures and severe retinal damage that's left him mostly blind in one eye, according to Gough.
Two other men involved in the attack — Pinchas Braver and Abraham Winkler — pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment charges in mid-August and were sentenced to 150 hours of community service and to pay a $1,400 fine, according to prosecutors.
Charges were dropped against two other men originally indicted back in 2014.
Patterson will give his own testimony about the night of the attack later in the trial.
Herskovic's attorney Israel Fried waved an opening statement and couldn't be reached for follow up comment immediately.
Patterson's family has sued the Shomrim Security Patrol and the city for the 90th Precinct's investigation of the case, claiming police delayed investigation and prematurely closed the case, the Daily News reported.